First time smoking... how much smoke should be coming out of the top vent?

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Original poster
Jan 19, 2014
Hey all! I'm joining the wonderful world of smoking. I have a 18.5" WSM that I loaded with lump charcoal for the minion method. I soaked mesquite mini-logs (which they sell at HEB here), and added approx 5 "fist-sized" chunks of wood worth (3 minilogs) to my charcoal.

When I first started, for the first 30 mins there was tons of smoke pouring out (yum), but now that I'm about 2.5 hrs in, there is barely any smoke coming out (edit: practically none). I'm keeping the temperature between 225-250 no problem (I'm cooking a 7lb brisket), but I figured there would be smoke coming out still.

Now I'm unsure of what to do. Do I throw another minilog in there, and risk oversmoking my brisket? Or do I leave it, as the amt I put in there should have been sufficient? Perhaps what's happening is completely normal, and my expectations for how much smoke should be coming out during the smoke aren't reality?

Thanks all for your help! I'm sure the brisket will be delicious regardless.
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You may not say yum for long with "tons" of smoke coming out of that weber. Especially mesquite. Dont make the mistake of many new smokers of looking for clouds of heavy smoke. That's not what you want. Over smoked meat can be inedible and mesquite is about as strong a smoke flavor as there is.
Now, after 3 hours chances are your logs are done, so add another one but be gentle. Better to want more smoke and still eating good brisket than having it oversmoked and choking on the meat.

Anyway welcome to the forum. Lots of good folks and info here. Glad to have you aboard.
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Hello and Welcome to our addiction.  A word of warning: There is no 12 step program for this one!  Many good folk here with a load of experience that they are more than willing to share.  If you have specific questions just start a thread and someone with experience will be along soon to offer advice.  All info you can provide us with such as smoker type, location and so on will help us answer any questions you may have.  Spend some time doing some research on the forums, tons of advice and recipes already available there.  Gee has ya covered about what to do next.  Tha boy knows his stuff!  We look forward to your contributions.  Have fun.  Good luck.  Keep Smokin!

Even when you don't see smoke it still may be present. You don't want heavy white plumes if smoke wafting from your smoker. What you want is consistent blue smoke (TBS). At times it's even hard to see the TBS.

Thanks fellas. I'm going to leave it as-is and not add anymore wood. Then I'll know after this brisket if it was good or if I should have added more. Like gee said, I'd rather it lack smoke than be drowned in it.
Good choice, Doc. That weber is a great bang for your buck cooker and as soon as you get it figured out you'll be smokin' like a pro. You might want to click on Jeffs free 5 day e-course to really kick start your new hobby / addition / passion.
Somebody else posted this pic and it says wonders about white vs TBS.  Thank you who ever it was.

 Left has white and right has TBS.  TBS is what you want for good flavor.

Now it's not always blue depending on your light but just as long as it's not tons of smoke like on the left.
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You will get about 5 min. or so of heavier smoke when you add wood to your smoker, also when you first start yours smoker it will have heavy smoke, but that should settle down within 10 min. or so. Here is my WSM running: is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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